The Eagles defense continues to improve every week, as Sunday's win in Green Bay marked the fifth-straight game that the unit has held opponents to 21 points or fewer. The task of keeping that streak going this week will be a difficult one, however, as the Washington Redskins enter having scored at least 21 points in four straight games.
Defensive coordinator Bill Davis has been working with a relatively young group all season long as he builds his 3-4 defense, but he's been helped out greatly by having an assistant coach who plays on the field – DeMeco Ryans.
"DeMeco is the leader of our defense, and he's having an outstanding, Pro-Bowl year, and we couldn't be happier with everything that DeMeco is doing for us," Davis said on Tuesday. "He quarterbacks and we give him a lot of leeway. He can get us in and out of defenses. He puts us in the best defense possible, and as the season's gone on, we, as a staff, have gotten more confident with his ability to put us in some good situations, and he has.
"From there, he's doing a great job playing the middle linebacker position. Between the tackles he is a force, whether it's crossing routes that he's knocking out, or it's the inside run game that he's tackling. He had one of the best form tackles that I think I've seen in a long time last week. We couldn't be happier with DeMeco … I cannot overstate what DeMeco means to this defense and the way that he's leading the group."
Ryans and company will have a lot on their plate this weekend. Though the Redskins come to Philadelphia with a 3-6 record, their offense has been firing as of late, thanks in part to the improving health of quarterback Robert Griffin III, whose first matchup with the Eagles this season was his first game back since major off-season knee surgery.
"I think you can see more mobility from him," Davis explained. "I think their offense has expanded like our defense has expanded. You start the season with a core group of things and then as you face different offenses or defenses, you grow your package, and I think that's grown and I think that (Griffin III)'s mobility (has improved), and I think the coaches are finding what they can do with him and without him coming off that knee injury in this first year. I think they've grown their package and he looks a lot more mobile than he was in the first game."
Now that Griffin III appears to be progressing back towards 100 percent, the Redskins running game becomes even more dangerous than it was in the first meeting. The Eagles took away running back Alfred Morris in that first encounter (12 carries for 45 yards), but Davis knows that stopping the run will be extremely important on Sunday afternoon.
"The offensive line has played together for all 10 games, and I believe they're now the third-best rushing team in the league," Davis said. "They've got the fifth-ranked offense, I believe, and there's no problem with their offense. Their offense is putting points up on the board, they're rushing, they're throwing the ball really well- so we have our hands full with one of the top offenses in the league this week and a quarterback who's more mobile than the last time we faced them."
Davis also updated the injury situation for three of his starters. Mychal Kendricks (knee) and Bradley Fletcher (pectoral) are both "day-to-day". Meanwhile, safety Earl Wolff is "week-to-week" with a knee injury, but the good news is that Patrick Chung's lingering shoulder issue should be a thing of the past.
"We don't foresee it being a reoccurring problem," said Davis. "I think it's in the rear-view mirror for Patrick, and hopefully it is."
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